Here is a look at the top NATIONAL stories, chosen by our Pattaya News/TPN National team, from last week, December 28th, 2020 to January 3rd, 2021, with some commentary. They are not in any particular level of importance but are listed in order of date of publication.
1. BMA announces closures of four high-risk establishments and activities in Bangkok over New Year period to slow spread of Covid-19
Due to the rapid spread of Covid-19 Coronavirus local cases in the capital, the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration has announced the closure of high-risk establishments, such as animal games venues and service/entertainment venues. Bar and restaurants are ordered not to have dance, live music, and lighting performances as well as not to sell alcohol after midnight. As of yesterday, 25 more high-risk establishments, including gyms, massage parlors, and beauty institutions were ordered to close indefinitely.
2. Thai government announces eight additional national and regional holidays next year
The government seems to favor a proposal for adding special holidays in order to stimulate domestic tourists to travel within the country as they claimed that it potentially helps spur the country’s economy during the absence of foreign tourists amid the Covid-19 global pandemic. According to a government spokeswoman, four national holidays for Chinese New Year, Songkran festival, Buddhist Lent Day, and Mahidol Day as well as four regional holidays are scheduled in 2021.
3. Thai Cabinet approves legal registration for undocumented migrant workers as part of Covid-19 measures
This legalization of migrant workers is a part of health measures to prevent the domestic spread of Covid-19 Coronavirus after a significant number of undocumented workers were discovered infected with Covid-19 and tried to skip state quarantine as they believed that they would be arrested. The registration allows undocumented workers to stay in the Kingdom and work legally in a special case under the second outbreak of Covid-19. The workers, including their family members and children, are required to strictly conduct health screening and apply for at least two-year health insurance as a part of employment regulations.
4. Covid-19 vaccine timeline for Thailand boosted up, 2 million doses expected as early as February says Thai Public Health Minister
The Thai Public Health Minister claimed good news to Thai people last week that two million doses of Covid-19 vaccines are underway to be distributed to Thai people sometime between February and April this year, potentially stepping up a timeline of vaccine distribution after direct and indirect pressure from the hospitality and tourism industry. It has not been confirmed what vaccine candidate Thailand has contacted with and who would be injected with the first lot of vaccines since the amount is only about 2.9 percent of its population.
5. Minister of Education orders schools under their jurisdiction closed in 28 high-risk Covid19 provinces until at least January 31st
The Thai Minister of Education has signed an order to close all schools under their jurisdiction in 28 high-risk provinces in Thailand, effective from this Monday until at least the end of the month to limit traveling under the second outbreak of Covid-19 nationwide. Similar to the national lockdown in mid-2020, online classes will be in use during the first period of the second semester. Although the order is only applicable to public schools, many private and international schools are also affected and ordered the indefinite closure.
And that is all for this week. Thank you as always for reading the Pattaya News/TPN News!